On January 14, 1986, Voyager 2 captured a picture of Uranus, capturing the planet’s chilling-blue color. Although the giant planet was already known for being odd — spinning on its side and having an off-center magnetic field. However, it was also recently identified that the icy planet has a giant magnetic bubble around it made of plasma called a plasmoid. When Voyager 2 originally passed the planet, it picked up a magnetic signal that was so tiny that it went noticed until scientists recently went back to the data and noticed it. This exciting discovery can be used as an explanation for why the planet itself is losing mass. The bubble is estimated to be about at least 127,000 x 250,000 miles across.
Hopefully scientists can send another mission to Uranus in order to study the plasmoid and Uranus other unique features with our newer technologies.
Recently, astronomers discovered a new exoplanet that exists about 640 lightyears away from Earth which they are considering as having the most intense weather patterns they have ever observed. The planet has two sides — a cool side that remains in darkness, contrasted with a hot side that can reach temperatures up to 4,352 degrees Fahrenheit. The planet is so hot that iron condenses and the winds on the planet then blow the iron into the cooler side causing it to become a liquid and then it actually rains liquid iron from the sky. The planet also experiences lots of radiation. The name of the giant exoplanet is WASP-76b. The planet is a gas giant, like Uranus in our solar system. The tool used to discover this planet is called the Very Large Telescope (VLT), and it will continue to be used in order to search for other planets similar to Earth. However, it is really interesting to understand the extremities that other planets could be.
Recently, a new telescope has allowed solar scientists to see the surface of the Sun in more detail than ever before. Although each of these golden kernels look small in size, each one can be estimated to be about the size of Texas to make up our Sun. These kernels compose the magnetic field of the star. The telescope is located in Hawaii on the island of Maui, this being one of three instruments that will be a part of the facility to study the Sun in more detail. The solar astronomers working on the project use the technique spectroscopy — this is looking at the different wavelengths of light coming from, in this case, the Sun. While the Earth has a stable magnetic field, the Sun rather has a dynamic magnetic field, which makes it really interesting to study. The new instruments pose the possibility that we can study space weather more as well.
What do you think of the Sun’s surface? What more do you think we can discover from the Sun?
Those who use the placement of stars in the night sky in order to determine where to go to are using a practice called celestial navigation. Ancient peoples noticed the patterns associated with stars in the night sky and were able to study and record them in order to teach the following generations how to read the sky for navigation. The celestial equator, seen in the image included, resides between the south celestial pole and the north celestial pole. The stars on this celestial equator are how we see the stars — rising in the east and setting in the west. In the Northern hemisphere where we live, our northern most point in the sky is Polaris, a star that never rises or sets due to how far north it is in the sky. Although it never rises or sets, it moves in the way that it makes a very small circle pattern around the north pole. Other stars in this hemisphere also circle around the north pole, yet depending on their latitude, their circular pattern may be much larger in order to insinuate the rising and setting effect that we see. Stars such as Polaris that do not adhere to the rising and setting phenomena are labelled as circumpolar. Celestial navigation in ancient times identified stars in the sky such as Polaris or the Big Dipper and used these patterns to guide them in the right direction.
Have you ever used celestial navigation or followed the North Star? Do you think that it is still important to know and understand celestial navigation even though we have more advanced technology today?
Einstein created a new physics framework with the notions of space and time, known as the theory of general relativity. As he continued to study these concepts, he realized the connectedness between the two, then referring to it as space-time. His theory explained how time does not go by at the same rate for still spectators as it does for fast-moving ones, therefore objects move relative to all other things. Additionally, the theory goes into how moving objects increase in mass as they continue to increase with velocity. For matter to reach light speed, its mass would need to become infinite and require infinite amounts of energy, making it impossible for any mass to reach the speed of light.
Despite Einstein’s theory explaining that no thing will ever be able to travel the same pace as light, the concept still intrigues scientists. Many have imagined theories and ideas on ways to reach this speed, but no one has been able to prove Einstein’s theory false. Science fiction films such as Star Wars and Star Trek have provided more theorizing to the discussion, as characters in the film travel at light speed through space on their adventures.
Do you think that we will ever be able to travel at the speed of light?